Mitt Romney can't figure out how to make these guys just disappear.
BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller gets a preview
of Mitt Romney's plan to destroy
Rick Santorum from a Romney campaign advisor:
The Pennsylvania Republican will "be defined by two things," the advisor said.
The first is a comparison to Barack Obama: "He's never run anything," said the advisor.
The Pennyslvanian's experience is limited to roles as a legislator and legislative staffer. "The biggest thing he ever ran is his Senate office," he said.
The second is a challenge to Santorum's Washington experience.
"They’re going to hit him very hard on earmarks, lobbying, voting to raise the federal debt limit five times," said the advisor. "The story of Santorum is going to be told over the next few weeks in a big way."
Apparently, they're planning on using both campaign and Super PAC resources as well as Romney himself to send out the anti-Santorum message—exactly as they did with great success to destroy Newt Gingrich. But this time, everybody is expecting it—and Romney's target is nowhere near is vulnerable to attacks from the right as was Gingrich. And conservatives are warning
Romney against using his anti-Newt playbook against Santorum.
The best case scenario for Romney is that his plan nukes Santorum and Republicans decide that their only option is to nominate Mitt. But if that happens, he'll enter the general election as a severely weakened candidate—everybody will know he only won the primary campaign by default.
But even if the first part of Romney's plan works—that he nukes Santorum—there's no guarantee that he'll be the one to benefit. Assuming Newt Gingrich doesn't quit the race, it's always possible that Gingrich will benefit from Mitt's attack machine, just like Santorum benefited when Romney went after Gingrich. To be clear, I wouldn't bet on Romney's anti-Santorum message being as effective as his anti-Newt message—but if it is, I wouldn't bet on Romney being the main beneficiary.